Baltimore Ravens VS New England Patriots: AFC Playoff Prediction

Baltimore Ravens VS New England Patriots, AFC Playoff Prediction: Like I said earlier in the week in my Just Picks newsletter, the Patriots rarely lose games against an opponent without an elite passing attack. Now, the Ravens are much better this season than they’ve been in years’ past, and Joe Flacco has definitely grown as a pro-quarterback in his sophomore season, but the Ravens are far from elite in the passing game.

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In the running game, they are as scary, if not more-so than ever before. Ray Rice has transformed into one of the game’s most explosive rushing/receiving threats out of the backfield, and Willis McGahee has shown brilliant flashes of his old self when given the opportunity to run the ball. As an offensive line, the Ravens have dominated the line of scrimmage this season.

The question will be, can the Ravens keep up with the Patriots offense. And that depends which offense shows up. Already, the Patriots will be without their leading receiver this season, as Wes Welker and his 120+ receptions suffered a bad knee injury in the season finale and will likely be out into next season. But Julian Edelman is a good young player in the Welker mode, and it will likely come down to Tom Brady and the great quarterback’s accuracy. Tom has had his ups and downs this season, a year after shredding his own knee on opening day, and it’s been tough to predict which Brady will show up, and how consistent he’ll be from half to half.

But I like the Patriots in this one. They have an underrated defense, and especially in the run-D aspect of it. They are sure tacklers and have a plethora of sound tacklers. If Brady can find the same holes in the Ravens secondary that other elite passers have found, the Patriots should win and cover at home.

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots (-3)

Free NFL Picks: New England Patriots vs Houston Texans

This is a tough one to get a read on, how weird, right? I mean, it’s only a game that absolutely doesn’t matter at all to the Patriots, but Tom Brady has supposedly asked to play and Bill Belichick has supposedly answered with “You bet, it’s your world, you’re in.” So Tom’s telling everyone and their mother that he’ll be playing this week. Now I don’t know Bill Belichick personally, but this seems like a great time to pull an awesome trick on just about everyone (including my fantasy team) and play Brady for about a quarter before giving way to some guy most of the fans don’t even know. That’s right, name the Pats’ back-up and I’ll give you some Flutie Flakes. Nope, Doug Flutie is on ESPN analyzing college football games, but if you answered Andrew Walter, you’re close – that guy’s the #3… Brian Hoyer is the right answer, and I’m not promising we’ll see him – but I’m telling you, Tom coming out saying he’s going to play seems way too easy to be real.

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And while the Patriots have shown they’ll go for the wins late in the year instead of rolling over for their opponents, this is also a game that holds no significance for New England what-so ever. They know they’ll be playing next week and they know they’ll be playing a home game – this game means nothing.

For the Texans, this game is a chance at the playoffs – it’s not a “win and you’re in” situation, but a win keeps them alive. They have a powerful enough offensive attack to put pressure on the Patriots anyway – in a meaningless game for the Pats, I expect Houston to win by double digits.

New England Patriots @ Houston Texans (-7.5)

Arses Five Favorites: Week 16 NFL Preview

Ugh, I lost 4 games for the second week in a row, bringing me to 14-11 over five weeks of free picks. From what I hear, that’s not too bad, but still, it’s bean feast or fart for me in five weeks of picks, two weeks with 4 wins or more, two weeks with a single win, and that one 3-2 week. Anyway, I have to keep rolling, just two more weeks to go, and I like some favorites the public doesn’t seem too fond of and see a couple big public favorites that look good to me as well. Here’s my top 5 favorites for Week 16…

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Atlanta Falcons (-8.5) @ home VS Buffalo: The Bills aren’t explosive enough offensively to stick with Atlanta. Sure, Michael Turner will likely be out again, but Matt Ryan is back, and an Atlanta team taking more chances with receivers like Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White might be a good thing. The Falcons are 5-2 at home – only 40% of the public likes them – count me in that 40%.

Green Bay (-14) @ home VS Seattle: This game is a bit of a joke. The Packers have been playing very aggressively all year offensively, and most of the year defensively. The Hawks are as soft as room temp butter. 35-13.

Dolphins (-3) @ home VS Texans: The Dolphins are solid at home, and they are just more consistent than Houston because of their strong offensive line and efficient rushing attack. Houston is sexier, sure, but Miami can just get it done.

Patriots (-7.5) @ home VS Jacksonville: Please. The Jaguars give choke artists a bad name. Tom Brady isn’t going to keep throwing incomplete passes all the way into the playoffs, I promise, the guy is going to turn it around, why not against a Jaguars secondary that has trouble stopping themselves. And don’t even get me started on Jacksonville’s offense. Does Del-Rio know their best player needs to touch the ball more? Answer, last week, yes, this week? Nope!

Eagles (-7) @ home VS Denver: The Broncos defense has struggled against elite passing attacks, losing and failing to cover against Indy, San Diego, and Pittsburgh so far this season. And to make me hate their chances even more, they lost to the freaking Raiders last week, with their old starter, new #3 QB, JaMarcus Russell, leading the Raiders to victory. C’mon Man!!!

Jacksonville Jaguars vs New England Patriots Free Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars vs New England Patriots Free Pick: It’s hard to lose faith in a team, but it’s happened. It takes me more weeks than most, but Tom Brady’s second half woes, the Patriots general effortless (not in a good way) play in the second half, and the teams inability to get the ball in the end zone, has me at a loss for faith. Yes, I no longer believe in my old saying, “Tom can cover anything, anywhere,” and hey, it happens to every team sooner or later.

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New England just hasn’t been able to score, and while they are still winning, and still close to a lock for the playoffs, their inability to put the ball in the end zone, teaming with the oddsmakers continuing to handicap them as if they are the Patriots of the record breaking offense during the undefeated regular season, makes them a fade right now. At least in my book they are.

Listen, you all know what I think of the Jaguars, not much. They don’t go about their business very well, they don’t run the ball as much as they should, and most of the time they underuse their best player, but this is still a team that can put up points. And despite their defensive woes, they can step up their attack in big games. There won’t be a bigger game for Jacksonville than this. Their season is on the line, and while I think the line ends this week in New England (where the Pats are undefeated this season) I still think it’s closer than 9 points. The Pats have found a way to win ugly, and I expect mediocre play from them yet again.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+9.5) @ New England Patriots

Week 15 NFL Picks: New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills

Week 15 NFL Picks, New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills: Are the Patriots better than the Bills? You bet, but there’s something to be said about the perfect match-up, and how can you not take a team that plays with anybody during the first three quarters, only to lose most of their games in the 4th – against a team that plays well in the first half, only to struggle and let their opponents back in the game in the 2nd? How can you? Oh, I know, you can’t because these are the Patriots and the Bills are the underdog, and for that reason I can at least respect you – but I have to take the underdog, because not only are the Bills playing better football, smarter football, but they’ve played the Patriots tough once already, in a game they should have won, and they’ve played pretty tight games with New England in the last three match-ups. But mostly, this is the Bills Super Bowl, a chance to pile on a tough season for the playoff bound Patriots, a chance to get a big win.

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The Bills have won 2 of their last 3 games, and have played pretty good football in each of their last 4 contest, winning ATS in three of them, and falling by just 6 to the Jets.

The Patriots are just 1-5 on the road, and their one win came as the “road team” in a game played in England – not New England, regular old across the Atlantic Ocean, England. So yeah, they are winless on the road this season, and quite honestly, they’re probably playing their worst football of the season. Asking for the Bills to win outright might be a little much, but as 7.5 point dogs, I like their chances.

New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills (+7.5)

Carolina Panthers vs New England Patriots NFL Free Pick

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Carolina Panthers vs New England Patriots NFL Free Pick: The reason I like the Panthers more now than I did when their starting quarterback was actually playing is because now they are smarter about their run to pass ratio. With Delhomme, they were playing like they had a starting quarterback in the game, as if his starter status actually made him useful. That was obviously the wrong understanding, and will likely cost John Fox his job some time soon. But now, they’ve become the team they should have been all season long. They run the ball more than they pass. Last week, even without their starting pro-bowl running back healthy enough to play, they ran the ball 33 times to just 20 pass attempts. Perfect. That kind of number makes me love them as a 14 point dog against anyone, even the Patriots.

I also think the Panthers are a solid defensive match-up for what the Patriots do offensively, that’s just another reason why they’re a great big dog bet, because most people don’t even consider that when making their play, and that’s why the Patriots are still getting 56% of the bet – or at least that’s what I think.

I always say that you should never give a good team double digits while betting, and while I’m not saying Carolina is  a good team exactly, I do think they are a good team when they run the ball 15 times more than they throw it. It keeps their defense off the field, and keeps their big play ability going. The Panthers intercept a lot of passes, and they have some solid pass rushers. I think the Panthers keep running, and keep playing well in the secondary, that’s definitely good enough for a 14 point underdog.

Carolina Panthers (+14) @ New England Patriots

New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins Point Spread Pick

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New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins Point Spread Pick: This one is a little scary when I look at the betting numbers. Despite being a huge public favorite from the get go, the line has actually moved away from the 6.5 it started at, and is already down to 5 at a select few books. It rests at 5.5 almost everywhere else – and while 6.5 and 5.5 are rarely any different when it comes to line work, I just don’t see what the “sharps” see or whomever is responsible for moving this line the way it’s going. And that’s what scares me I guess, not that the line is moving, or where it’s moving, but the fact that I just can’t see it.

Every time the Patriots have gotten beat, they’ve come back and blasted their next opponent. That’s how their attitude (collectively) works. Their leaders don’t like losing, this is one of the most competitive groups in sports, and they atone for losses better than anyone. After a loss this season, they are 3-0 SU and ATS.

Plus, the Patriots have owned the Dolphins over the last couple years. Sure, the Fins had that one Wildcat game that put the offense on the map and had many people questioning the direction of the Patriots defense, but 4 of the last 5 have gone to the Patriots – only that one game was won by Miami – the Patriots have won by at least 10 on all four occasions, 20 or more three times.

The Dolphins have a nice rushing attack, and they can run on anyone, but the Pats scheme against the run very well, and without a passing attack to really hurt the Pats, I just don’t see what “they” see. I’ll take the Patriots, but I’ll continue to look for a reason not to. Damn Vegas, has me tripping out some times.

New England Patriots (-6.5) @ Miami Dolphins

Arse's Five Favorites: Week 13 NFL Picks

I’ve got 5 more favorites this week, and you’re lucky, because I’m rocking a 8-1-1 record in the two weeks I’ve done this (check the records), and I’m only doing this because I’ve been winning all season long. It’s bound to end sometimes, but will it fail me this week? We shall see… Here’s my Week 12 review and Week 13’s picks.

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Week 12 NFL Picks REVIEW:

(W) – Indy -3 @ Houston: So what, they fell down 17-0 early, and they did what they do and won anyway – that’s why I’ve been making cash off these little horsies.
(W) – Seattle -6 @ St. Louis: The Rams couldn’t take advantage of the sand all over the Seahawks collective offensive game plan. Oh, and Justin Forsett beat the Rams all by himself.
(W) – Minnesota (-10.5) @ home vs. Chicago: The Bears are a joke and the Vikings are one hell of a team – this favorite picking this seems to be too easy.
(W) – Ravens (-2) @ home vs. Pittsburgh: No Ben Roethlisberger helped, but I almost think the Steelers probably still should have won, if they just didn’t play so careful. Oh well, my luck.
(W) – Saints (-1.5) @ home vs. New England: The Saints were the better team and Tom was off his game. It was easy enough.

WEEK 13 NFL Picks:

Philadelphia (-5) @ Atlanta: I have to take the Eagles here, how can I not? They need this win desperately and they have their starting quarterback playing, a solid defense, and their starting running back has been out all year. I think they win by two touchdowns.

Houston Texans (-1) @ Jacksonville: You can get the Texans as 1 point dogs, but my book has them as a 1 point favorite. I think they are the far-superior team, and that’s enough for me.

Cincinnati Bengals (-13) @ home vs. Detroit: The Lions are terrible and the Bengals are going to pray on that mistake-prone offensive attack. Plus, the secondary is so shaky that I know Palmer will take a couple chances.

New England (-3) @ Miami: I have heard the Patriots always struggle in Miami – I dont’ care – the Patriots will win by at least a touchdown.

San Diego (-13) @ Cleveland: The Chargers score a lot of points, through the air is their ticket to success, and they don’t waste too much time pounding the football. That will kill Cleveland as their only chance to stay close is if their opponent slows down the game.

New England Patriots vs New Orleans Saints Free Pick

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New England Patriots @ New Orleans Saints (-2.5) Free Pick: The way the Saints have played this year, whether it’s beating up on good teams or fighting back to win games they should have lost, or just never giving up despite everything going wrong – I don’t see how I can’t pick them as a mere 2.5-point favorite at home. They undefeated part doesn’t win me over, but all the intangibles have me interested.

The Saints should be as healthy as they’ve been in weeks, as3 key contributors (Sedrick Ellis, Jabari Greer, and Reggie Bush – in that order, too) plan on playing and are probable for this Monday Night’s game after missing last week’s domination of the Buccos. Those first two should make a huge impact as they’ll be desperately needed if they’re going to eek out another win and stay undefeated.

I have no bad things to say about the Patriots. They are the best coached team in the NFL, you can see that by all the little things they do right, and how they continue to do what they do while losing key players during the off-season and to injury. They really do everything well, and probably have two of the best players ever in Tom Brady and Randy Moss. They have only lost 3 games on the year, and they easily could have won all three if the ball bounced the other way on a single play. They are probably 3 plays away from being undefeated just like the Saints and Colts.

But, the Pats 3 losses have all come on the road, and despite their very talented run defense, I think the Saints can run on the Patriots with the fear of Drew Brees fresh in the minds of the Pats’ coordinators. This one is going to be very close, but if the Saints early season games are any indication of how they’ll rise to this challenge, I think the smart money has to be on them.

Enjoy one hell of a Monday Night Football Game!

Papas Picks: Week 12 NFL Underdogs, Texans, Chiefs, Cardinals

I had a solid little go-around last week, finishing 4-1 with a couple big underdog wins to show for it. I always like to put a small straight-up wager on my dogs, and that worked like a charm last week as the Chiefs and Titans both gave me some nice + money, but I should have won 3, if only the Redskins could have slammed the door shut on the pathetic Cowboys. But finishing isn’t in the cards for that team, I should have known. You know what’s nutso, I pick only dogs, Arse picks only favorites, and Lucky picks whatever he wants, and we all won in Week 11 – then again, I had the best win-percentage. Ha, old people rule! Here’s last week’s review and this week’s top dogs – I’ve got 4 good one’s this week!

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Week 11 Review:

Titans (+4.5) was an outright winner @ Houston.
St. Louis (+10) was a cover-winner against Arizona.
Kansas City (+11.5) just won outright against the might Steelers. Awesome.
Washington (+11) covered easily in a 1 point loss @ Dallas.
Tampa Bay (+11.5) was a sure thing loss against New Orleans, Lucky was right.

Week 12 Free Picks:

Houston Texans (+3.5) @ home vs. Indianapolis Colts: The Texans are better than many give them credit for, and I think Schaub ends up having the much better day through the air. I like Houston to end the Colts winning streak, but like them even more with a little more than a field goal.

Kansas City Chiefs (+14.5) @ San Diego Chargers: The Chargers have been hot, but in their own little way, so have the Chiefs – hot enough to play with a Chargers team that isn’t great defensively in any one area. 14.5 points, I almost always like that. The Chargers aren’t any kind of two touchdown favorite in my old ass opinion.

Arizona Cardinals (+3) @ Tennessee: I like the Titans with Vince, sure, but every team meets their match, and I just happen to think the Cardinals are a terrible match-up for Vince and the Titans. They stop the run really well and pass with precision and big-play ability. Sounds like a dog win to me!

New England Patriots (+3) @ New Orleans Saints: What a Monday Night Football Game – I can’t wait. I just like the Patriots and points in about every single occasion I can muster. Hope that clears it up. Every single situation ever. You bet! I will!